I wanted to write a hello 2020 post, followed by a goodbye January post. Perhaps Hello February….hmm. Well, here we are two months later and I feel I can say goodbye winter. At last! The year started off in a haze of new photography projects and plans for floral events later in the year ,but at last I have an extra day to write a long overdue blogpost. It is a leap year day and Spring is just around the corner.
January started off with oodles of Juliet roses for a new David Austin shoot for Valentines day. I just love how these roses unfurl over a few days to reveal all the delicious peachy petal layers. I was up in Yorkshire and we had the most beautiful northern winter light and the apricot tones were a perfect antidote to the January blues.
The sweet scented viburnum was flowering in the garden and the first ranunculus were just available. Shooting in the depths of winter and only using natural light is never easy. Shorter days, moody skies and unpredictable rain storms can cause mayhem and dare I say frustration. Lots of candles and a large reflector or two really help besides I like the cooler winter tones. Just make sure you get as close to a window as you can. I feel really strongly that the flowers and seasons should be reflected in my work so I need to embrace the weather. That said, I’ll happily take the sunlight!
The sun always streams through this window, highlighting the fact they need a good clean. If I was a cat, this is where I’d sit with the winter sun on my face and a view in to the garden
At the end of January, I went off to Wales with my friends Leigh Chappell and Kim of Pig Pen flowers, two wonderful and talented women that I met through Instagram. It was a creative weekend exploring the Gower, staying on the Penrice estate in the cutest white sugar cube welsh cottage. The snowdrops were out in huge drifts around the gardens. Bracing beach walks were had and lots of photo taking and floral faffing too.
Leigh’s mother in law lives in a stunning house overlooking Horton beach and tea and welsh cakes were very welcome as we thawed out.
Rose cottage on the Penrice estate
Kim and Leigh
In an attempt to make some space and tidy up my studio I made this dried wreath from pampas, grass, lunaria and strawflowers (from Kim). I knew I’d find just the right door as a backdrop, and Penrice was full of them. Kim and I drove to Wales together and we didn’t travel light. The car was full of flowers, dried grasses and a wreath or two.
No sooner had I got back home then I was off again to talk at the annual Flowers from the Farm conference about my approach to social media, specifically photography that works on Instagram. Growers and florists, all passionate about British flowers and sustainability within the industry gathered to network and share ideas. Keeping flowers seasonal and local is a very compelling message and there is bound to be a grower near you. It was a real honour to be invited to speak. I still have so much to learn about floristry and loved being surrounded by so many inspiring floral friends. I couldn’t resist buying these Smith and Munson tulips at the end of the day
With the arrival of February came some menacing storms (brutal in some places) for our country. Ciara followed by Dennis. Last year we lost an age old cherry tree just as it was flowering and this year Ciara decided to be unforgiving. Down came another! Early morning dog walks have their advantages and I dragged a few branches home before the council swooped in and cleared it all away.
I love a theme and with the film ‘Little Women’ coming out early in the year, it was a lovely project to work on for Mothers day with David Austin. The four girls, each with their own personality were reflected in the posies each with its own rose.
Gorgeous Ella for the character of Meg
Edith for the character of Jo
Beautiful Kiera for Amy
The warmth and glow of Beatrice for the character of Beth.
I loved working on this project and all the linen dresses were loaned to us by Sondeflor. I think I’ll have to write another post dedicated to this project. There are a lot of images! In the meantime you can see more over on the David Austin blog here
Last week my chat with Amy and Maggie of Botanical Brouhaha podcast went live. I was so thrilled to be asked on as a guest. Many of my floral heroes have been featured on this podcast dedicated to everything flower industry related. If you are a flower fan then this is a wonderful podcast to listen to featuring floral designers, growers and everyone in between. Amy has curated the most beautiful Instagram and pinterest account and her website is full of beautiful, dreamy inspiration.
If you would like to read more details about my upcoming flower and photography retreat in the Loire Valley, France May 18th-21st 2020 then you can find out more here
So heres to Spring. Let’s hope it brings warmth and sunlight.